Okay, I'd seen the movie about 6 times just for Antonio Banderas, when I finally noticed the "based on the book" notice. I went out and bought the book that night. It was disappointing in that I had a hard time picturing Antonio and Jennifer Connelly as the characters I read about in the book, but it was still wonderful.
Unlike regular romance novels, this one actually takes a little effort to read, but it is beautiful, so if you're looking for a little intellectual stimulation to go along with your romance, or just something a little different from what you normally like to read, this book is for you.
It is the srory of Fransisco and Irene. Fransisco is the son of an anarchist who is working illegally, and secretly, as a psychologist helping victims of atrocities. On the side, for a cover and much needed money, he works under Irene as a fashion photographer for a magazine. Where Fransisco is a man of the world, and sees ugliness about him every day, Irene has been brought up priveledged, with her eyes closed to everything that is not beautiful. Her ever growing friendship with Fransisco draws her out of her box, away from her fascist fiance', and into a world of danger and pain with Fransisco.
This is not genre fiction, and therefore it does drag in a few places. If you need a little encouragement to get through those parts, just find a private place and read it out loud. Very few can make poetry out of prose the way that Isabel Allende can.